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Local chiropractic office uses “cupping” therapy

What look to be tattoos on Michael Phelps at first glance are really the result of an ancient Chinese healing practice,now referred to as "cupping".

What look to be round, purple tattoos on Michael Phelps at first glance are really the result of an ancient Chinese healing practice, which is now referred to as cupping.

It's a technique that's getting a lot of attention this week in Rio and around the world.

Dr. Ryan Nobles at Coastal Chiropractic is a fan of the therapy and so is his patient, Tommie Gautreaux.

She's a hair stylist and experiences headaches and back problems because of her profession.

"With the cupping I've found it breaks up that tightness and really it does work. I've been doing it for several years now," she said.

The specialized cups are placed on the skin. Dr. Nobles uses an air pump to create suction.

"The cup will lift the skin and muscle into the cup allowing good blood and oxygen to come in and flush that area out and it helps break up scar tissue," said Dr. Nobles, who went on to say that the technique is great at improving range of motion and decreasing pain.

Next he performed the technique on Local 15's Christian Jennings' shoulders.

She said that aside from some minor discomfort, it wasn't painful. The process typically lasts for only a few minutes.

"We use it a lot in sports medicine in conjunction with physical therapy, muscle work and chiropractic care. It's not for everyone but it's for people with a lot of cumulative, repetitive stress on the muscle," said Dr. Nobles.

Nobles said the discoloration and bruising can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

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